$8.1bn repatriation: CBN, MTN reach agreement

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and telecommunications giant, MTN,
have agreed to settle out of court in the latter's suit to challenge a
directive to return the $8.1 billion allegedly illegally repatriated.

Speaking in court after a hearing on Tuesday, MTN counsel, Wole
Olanipekun (SAN) said his client has approached CBN for an amicable
settlement.

Seyi Sowemimo, CBN's lead counsel, also told the court that the
negotiation was at an advanced stage.

"We have advanced towards settlement and it remains to cross the Ts
and dot the Is; it is just for the report of a settlement," he said.

Saliu Saidu, the justice presiding over the case, adjourned till
December 12 for a report on the settlement.

CBN slammed a total of N5.87 billion fines on four banks and ordered
them to refund over $8.13 billion alongside MTN, for what it described
as "flagrant violation of extant laws and regulations of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria, including the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and
Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1995 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
and the Foreign Exchange Manual, 2006."

The four banks included: Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic-IBTC,
Citibank and Diamond Bank.

CBN spokesman, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, said the fine followed allegations
of remittance of foreign exchange with irregular Certificates of
Capital Importation (CCIs) issued on behalf of some offshore investors
of MTN Nigeria Communications Limited and subsequent investigations
carried out by the apex bank in March 2018.

"The CBN has, therefore, asked the managements of the banks and MTN
Nigeria Communications Limited to immediately refund the sum of
$8,134,312,397.63, illegally repatriated by the company to the coffers
of CBN.

But MTN told the court that CBN lacks the power to determine its civil
obligations or penal liabilities.

It urged the court to declare that CBN acted outside its statutory
powers when it wrote a letter to it on August 18, 2017 demanding a
refund of $8.1 billion.
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